IOC to open talks about easing protest ban at Olympics

Olympics

In this Oct. 16, 1968 file photo, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos raise their gloved fists after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City. The International Olympic Committee published guidelines Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 specifying which types of athlete protests will not be allowed at the 2020 Tokyo Games. Athletes are prohibited by the Olympic Charter’s Rule 50 from taking a political stand in the field of play — like the raised fists by American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Games. (AP Photo, file)

GENEVA (AP) — During a global wave of demonstrations against racism, the IOC says it’s opening talks that could let athletes make stronger protests at the Olympic Games.

Only five months ago the Olympic body strengthened its ban on political statements by specifying that gestures such as taking a knee or raising a fist on a medal podium remain prohibited.

The Olympic body’s public stance eased slightly Wednesday when its president Thomas Bach said the in-house athlete committee would “explore different ways” how opinions could be expressed.

Bach says he opposes what he calls “potentially divisive demonstrations.”

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